West Gorton, Manchester born wing and later centre half Hugh McLenahan began his football career with Manchester junior club Ambrose and played for Longsight and Ashton Brothers in 1925 before joining Manchester United on amateur forms in 1926, playing for Stalybridge Celtic the same year. In May 1927 he signed professional for Manchester United, his Football League debut coming at Tottenham Hotspur in February 1928, McLenahan playing at right half, playing 9 more matches before the season end at either right or left half, scoring his first goal for United in a defeat at Bury in April.
However he made only one further appearance in 1928-29 in a 0-0 draw at Aston Villa in August 1928 before he returned to first team action on 12th October 1929, playing at left half in a 5-2 defeat at home to Grimsby Town but didn’t play again until March. In April, playing at inside right, McLenahan went on a scoring spree, scoring six goals in five consecutive games. The 1929-30 season would prove to be the highest-scoring season of McLenahan’s nine season Manchester United career. He proved to be a fairly versatile player for United playing all across the half back line as well as occasional outings at inside right or inside left, and he continued to play for the club after their relegation to the Second Division in 1931.
Although he was not a regular starter, he still managed to score 12 goals in 116 appearances for the club, even captaining the team on a few occasions. By the mid-1930’s, his appearances in the United first team had become fewer and the decision was taken to allow McLenahan to move to Notts County in December 1936. McLenahan played for Notts County for almost three seasons, becoming an established name in the Notts County team, but his career was halted by the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, by when he had scored once in 58 appearances for The Magpies.